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15. Communication

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Communication in the Family Circle


PowerPoint©Slide 1

“Communication in the Family Circle”



On July 26, 1945, the United States, Great Britain, and China issued the Potsdam Proclamation, an ultimatum demanding the immediate, unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Japan. The ultimatum threatened complete destruction of Japan if it were not accepted. The Japanese fleet no longer existed as a viable fighting force, and the successful defense of the home islands was impossible. Japanese intelligence knew the United States had developed the atomic bomb and suspected what the bomb could do.


The Japanese cabinet was preparing to accept the Allied ultimatum, yet they were searching for a face-saving way short of unconditional surrender to end the war. They released a statement announcing a policy of Mokusatsu. This word in Japanese is an ambiguous term with several meanings, which cannot be directly translated into English with one word. Mokusatsu means “to ignore” and it also means “to refrain from comment.” The press translated the word to mean that the Japanese cabinet had ignored the ultimatum, when in reality they were trying to communicate that they were refraining from comment because they needed more time. In the confusing days of crisis, as Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki faced two assassination attempts and an attempted military coup, the ambiguity of what the Prime Minister meant by Mokusatsu may have contributed to the atomic holocaust over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.



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·    The Power of a Word!

·    Do you think some family atomic explosions could be avoided by better communication?




There is power in even a single word! A misinterpretation of communication may have contributed to the loss of more than a hundred thousand innocent men, women, and children. Words have similar catastrophic power in our relationships, particularly with family members.


To have good family communication, the senders need to give clear messages. Then these messages need to be decoded by another person who understands the idea and feeling the sender intended.


Understandingwhatpeople mean

Clear communication is needed between husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees, as well as between nations. But that is not always easy. A diplomat once said, “I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard was not what I meant.” Perhaps you’ve heard the axiom, “Words do not ‘mean’ at all. Only people ‘mean.’”[1]


Wise speakers try to send clear messages. They think before they speak and try to eliminate confusing and frustrating terminology. A parent calls vaguely as Sarah leaves for a birthday party, “Remember to act nice.” This could be improved by saying, “Remember to thank Scott and his mother for a good time when you leave the party.” When others hear clear messages from you, they are more likely to respond with clear messages.


Wise speakers are careful about how their words will be received and the effects of the message. Was there sufficient information? Will the listener respond negatively or defensively to the message?


A woman who phoned the fire department didn’t know how to deliver a clear message. The fire chief answered the phone by saying, “Fire department.” The female voice shouted, “Send the fire truck!” and then the woman hung up. The chief didn’t know what to do since she’d given no location. Within minutes the phone rang again and once again he said, “Fire department.” The same hysterical woman again shouted, “Send the fire engine!” and the phone went dead.


Understanding that her house was on fire but not knowing where to dispatch the fire engine, he went outside to search the sky for smoke. While devising a mental plan to keep the woman from hanging up so quickly, the phone rang for the third time. “Where’s the fire?” the chief shouted into the phone. “In the kitchen!” the hysterical woman screamed and hung up again.


In order for clear communication to take place and help change behavior, you must provide enough information so that others can respond appropriately. Here are six tips to help you deliver clear and concise messages with family members.


  1. Get at eye level with the one with whom you are talking.
  2. Deliver important messages only when the other person is looking at you.
  3. Give focused attention by tuning in to emotional clues so you can sense warmth or hostilityand negative nonverbal signals.
  4. Eliminate distractions by talking in a location where peace and quiet reigns.
  5. Focus on giving clear information in a non-threatening way that will convey the right message and be received correctly.
  6. Observe your culture’s norms for showing respect and being shown respect. These cultural norms include greetings, posture, taboos, and farewells.

Communication is the sending of a message from a sender to a receiver in such a way that the meaning conveyed to the receiver matches that of the meaning intended by the sender. However, as hard as we may try, we cannot guarantee that the hearer will always accept the message in the spirit in which we offer it.Our transmitted messages often get mixed, and relationships are affected.


Nonverbal communication

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Communication goes beyond words.


Fifty-five percent of the message is delivered nonverbally—through gestures, posture, and facial expression. Nonverbal behavior actually carries more weight than the spoken word. A lift of the eyebrows, a wrinkling of the forehead, an uplifted or dropped chin conveys volumes. When smiling, you communicate warmth and happiness; a frown expresses sadness and displeasure.


Gestures are another part of body language. Outstretched arms with palms up demonstrates openness and acceptance; outstretched arms with palms out indicates closure and distance. The hug, clenched fist, slammed door, thrown objects, clasped hands, upturned thumb, pat on the back, kiss and high-five all send clear messages when coupled with other nonverbals and the spoken word. Around the world, we use gestures. Some cultures bow in greeting, others curtsy, and still others use a double kiss or a handshake.


Powerful messages are delivered without ever opening your mouth, including through the finger pointed accusingly, a roll of the eyes or a deep sigh, arms folded across the chest, hands on hips with feet apart, or walking away during a conversation. A lack of eye contact, not answering when spoken to, pulling away when being touched, and a host of other nonverbal behaviors speak louder than words.


The way we send messages affects relationships. A boy was harshly reprimanded by his mother for a minor incident, and he interrupted her with these words: “Mom, you don’t have to be mad about it.” This infuriated the mother,and with anger in her eyes, she said very loudly, “I am not angry!” Fortunately this mother recognized her anger problem and, through skills learned at a communication seminar and with the help of God, improved her ability to communicatewhat she meantwithout anger.


A father may tell his son that he loves him, but if his actions are abusive, the son doesn’t know what to believe. A harsh tone of voice or negative body language communicates more strongly than the words, “I love you.”

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Which of the following have the greatest impact to you?

Words? Tone of voice?Or face and body language?




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We communicate

7 percent by our words

            38 percent by our tone of voice

            55 percent by our face and body language





The goal of this chapter is to enhance communication in the home and workplace, equipping us with skills for sending clear messages that will then be decoded correctly by the listeners. Effective communication is a skill that takes a lifetime to learn. At any point in our lives we can resolve to learn better ways to communicate with those we love.


Communication includes talking, listening, body language, seeing, touching, and even emotional feeling. Remember, a message may have different meanings to different people because of their past experiences.

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Different Levels of Communication

1.   Chit-chat

2.   Reporting the news/ facts

3.   Communicating ideas & opinions

4.   Sharing feelings

5.   Open and intimate, mature communication



Communication has different levels, such as:


A desirable level of communication for marriages and families is the open and intimate, mature communication. At this level, couples or families are open and honest with each other. They work together to solve problems in a peaceful, understanding way, even when there are differences of opinion. It is here that families can express personal feelings and feel heard and understood. Look at those five levels of communication. At what level do you spend most of your time with your mate? With your children?With others?




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Research: 6 Factors Characterize

Strong Healthy Families

• Show love and appreciation

• Spend time together

• Face crises in a positive way

• Are spiritual

• Are Committed to each other

• Communicate effectively


                        --Stinnett &DeFrain


The Redbook survey of 730 counselors reported the highest-ranked marriage problem was communication breakdown.[2]In Homes of Hope and Health we are attempting to balance the essential communication and conflict-resolution strategies with the even more important love factor. True unselfish love for one another is the key to a highlyeffective level of communication and would prevent a lot of ugly conflicts and marriage problems. Do you agree? With love in the family, fighting might not be as much of a problem.


Time forcommunicating


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Research: Millie & John Youngberg’s Survey

  • first having time for God


The authors’ observations, after holding hundreds of Marriage Commitment seminars on several continents, is that the greatest need expressed by couples attending




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  • and second, time for each other.




Couple time means companionship time, time to communicate, time for going on an outing together without children, for planning home routines and improvements, for goal setting, time for romantic moments, and time for working together on special projects.It doesn’t have to be all in one setting, and it may include activities engaged in together.



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Research: Gary Smalley’s Survey

Most wives would like one hour of communication time with their husband during the day.




Children also need time to communicate with their parents. Hilton Terrell found that children get more time when there are two parents in the home. Fathers who make time to communicate and interact with their children make a huge difference in the home atmosphere and the health of the home.


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Research: Hilton Terrell’s Report

·    2-parent households best for youth

·    Children from single-parent homes suffer 20-40% more health problems





The World Congress of Families II in Geneva reported that children of divorce have more health problems.[3]  Do you think that crisis in communication between parent and child resulting from the communication breakdown between the parents might partially explain these child and teen health issues?


One mother wanted to have more communication time with her young single adult son living away from home. The son also missed his time with Mom. They made a plan. Sunday at 11:30, mother and son would have a “Son-day.” It is now a standing weekly appointment during which they enjoy chatting on weekly events, news, and their interests while making the meal together. In the afternoon they enjoy fun planned activities and communication time. They feel connected as a family.


Something(s) are putting the squeeze on positive time spent communicating with our teenagers and children. What might it be where you live? So we need to ask ourselves some serious questions: How much time daily am I spending in positive family communication? How much time am I spending with my teen or even young adult who is away from home? Is it quality time? Time teaching? Time listening? Time having fun? Time transmitting religious values? Time affirming.

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What robs us from having time with hour teens?

 Could it be that media is part of the problem?



The average time spent by youth ages 12–24 with electronic media per day in the US is:

  • Internet—2 hours, 52 minutes
  • Television—2 hours, 47 minutes
  • Radio—1 hour, 24 minutes
  • Video games—1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Telephone—1 hour, 4 minutes
  • Total—9 hours, 17 minutes[4]


The age of electronics has taken over the lives of our children as well as adults. This means that the average young adult is spending more than half of their waking hours engaged with some type of electronics.


Parents who take time to communicate about electronic overload and unprofitable use of time are considered “hands-onparents.” These parents also take an interest in what their children and teens are surfing on the Internet and what video and computer games their children are buying and playing. Parents are finding that occult themes, including witchcraft and magic, are incorporated into some of the most popular video games. Instead of God being victorious, the devil is portrayed as strong. Familiarity with the occult poses real dangers.


We live in an age when most parents work outside the home and children have many hours of unsupervised time. It is essential then that parents learn the facts about the effect of violent TV, movies, and video games on their children. Parents can minimize the danger of such games by eliminating the harmful, limiting time playing the acceptable video games, keeping the game playing area public so it can be easily monitored and playing games with their child. By setting boundaries with the electronic media, family members have more time for positive communication.



One of the four most powerful means of communication, according to Gary Chapman in his book The 5 Love Languages, is through touching.


The value of touch

Touching is a great way of communicating fondness. We have about eighteen square feet of skin that is in a constant state of readiness to be lovingly touched.


When ill, we are comforted when someone holds our hand or gives a gentle love pat along with caring words. It feels good. Pain clinics actually prescribe hugs, tender touch, and soft massages to relieve pain. When Millie broke her femur, which was an extremely painful break, a friend came immediately to the hospital even before X-rays were taken.

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When her friend held her hand, Millie felt her tension and fears dissipate, and she visibly relaxed.



A hug says, “You are special to me” and has a lot of positive side effects, one of which is bonding the family together. Some medical experts say we need four hugs a day to be healthy. But a better idea is to give and get all the hugs you can. Give hugs appropriately to those who need them the most.

Research has shown that hugs can improve mental health, physical health and build a good immune system. A study by University of North Carolina researchers found that hugs increase the "bonding" hormone oxytocin and decrease the risk of heart disease. In fact, levels of the stress hormone cortisol decreased in women, as did their blood pressure. Lead researcher and psychologist Dr. Karen Grewen says, "Greater partner support is linked to higher oxytocin levels for both men and women. However, the importance of oxytocin and its potentially cardioprotective effects may be greater for women."[5]


Harold Voth, senior psychiatrist of the Menniger Foundation, states, "Hugging is an excellent tonic. It has been shown scientifically that people who are mentally run-down and depressed are far more prone to sickness than those who are not. Hugging can lift depression, enabling the body's immune system to become tuned up. Hugging breathes new life into a tired body and makes you feel younger and more vibrant. In the home, daily hugging will strengthen relationships and significantly reduce friction."[6]



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HUGS:a Prescription for All

·    How many hugs do we need a day?


Research confirms the value of hugs: Little hugs can dry up big tears, prevent depression, lower heart rate, increase hemoglobin, boost the immune system, release stress, promote sleep, help children be sweeter, strengthen family relations, and improve children’s schoolwork. Have you hugged your child today? What about your spouse if you are married? And oh yes, don’t forget Grandma and Grandpa. They are “skin hungry.” Hugs communicate love and appreciation to our senior family member. In the evening after story time or family devotions, some families call for group hug as a normal routine before heading for bed.[7]


Hints for healthy family communication

Let’s discuss a few healthy communication skills that will enhance family relations.



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Communication Hints for All

  1. Communicateoptimisticallyandpositively
  2. Enjoy life with humor
  3. Brainstormonchoicesto be made
  4. Be a good listener
  5. Talk so otherswill tune in, not out







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Communication Hints for All

  1. Plan talk time
  2. Eattogether as a family
  3. Communicateneeds
  4. Enjoyfamilydevotional time
  5. Loveincludesboldness






  1. Communicate optimistically and positively.


Life is too short to spend it criticizing others and spreading gossip or negative forebodings. What we say is what we get. Your health will be better if you think and speak positive and optimistic thoughts. When you become a more positive person, others will respond to you in a more positive and optimistic manner. Teach your children to observe your culture’s communication rules to show honor and respect.


  1. Enjoy life with humor.



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Enjoy Life with Humor


Humor is good for one’s health, stimulates endorphins, brings a feeling of well-being, lowers blood pressure, reduces the heart rate, and lessens stomach acid. Laughter is the best medicine.


Emily was upset over her stepsons’ misbehavior and approached her husband about it. “You need to open your eyes to see what the boys are doing,” to which he quickly responded, “I will start praying that God will open both my eyes to see more and close one of yours.” They laughed about this but began working more closely on improving their parenting skills. Another time, Emily was praying and complaining to God about all the bad things that were happening when her husband interrupted her prayer with a twinkle in his eye, and he said, “Stop this prayer.” Then he began praising God for all the good things that were happening. Emily and he had a good laugh as his positive prayer continued. This husband and wife discovered that humor helped reduce tension during stressful times.


Recall a humorouseventthat has happened in your family and have a good laugh over it.


  1. Brainstorm on choices to be made.


      When making important family decisions, especially decisions that involve everyone in the family, encourage all to contribute ideas regarding the best choice. A ground rule is to have no negative blockers of ideas. When all have contributed their suggestions, evaluate ideas and choose the best one or a combination of ideas or say, “We still are not ready to move on this, so let’s think and pray about what we should do.”


  1. Be a good listener.


Listening sounds simple, but becoming a good listener is much more difficult than becoming an eloquent speaker. Listening is serious business, because it involves more than hearing words. It involves discernment, observing nonverbals, caring, eye contact, watching for underlying motives, asking the right questions, giving appropriate responses, and sometimes being silent. It is hard work, but the payoffs for developing closer relationships are worth the price.


Good listening involves looking and acting the part. If you do not look as if you are listening, the speaker may think that you’re not interested. Good listening can be described as an activity in which you utilize every part of your body to show family members you are listening. It makes the speaker feel special, valued, and worthwhile.

To be a good listener on a daily basis means that you will maintain good eye contact, sit attentively, act interested in what you are hearing, ask well-phrased questions, and sprinkle your listening with appropriate phrases to show interest and understanding. “I agree.” “Is that so?” “Great.” And just when you think you are through listening, listen thirty seconds longer!


Listening Scale: Are you a good listener?


Poorlistener › 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ‹ Good listener


Circle the number that represents your listening skills.


  1. Talk so otherswill tune in, not out.


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Communication Breakdown as a Marriage Problem

The Redbook survey of 730 counselors, reported the highest ranked marriage problem was communication breakdown.


Some people talk too much. A statistician calculated that the average parent spends at least one-fifth of his or her life talking. That’s enough words each week to fill a book five hundred pages in length! In twenty years that would fill fifteen hundred volumes. Talking so much creates selective deafness, especially in children. Bill asked his father a question about his homework. Dad suggested that he get help from his mother. To this Bill replied, “I don’t want to know that much!” She was a talkative mom.


Children with parents who talk a lot about values and about “what is right and what is wrong” have higher standards. Some individuals are silent types and are great listeners. One mother of a very talkative daughter said to her, “I hope you marry a man who will be willing to listen to you.” And she did!


  1. Plan talk time.


  • Some couples go to a restaurant Sunday morning or noontime to enjoy a meal and also to make plans for the week and beyond.
  • A father and mother chose Sunday morning before breakfast to evaluate their family’s progress and values. They discussed strategies for improvement.
  • Jeff and Lou found their lives were out of control. They realized their need to simplify life and return to the essentials. This couple planned a goal-setting weekend at a retreat area away from children and friends. Their agenda was to set priorities for the next three months and to create intentional strategies to carry out their plans.


Among the goals that emerged were: say “No” to the unnecessary, improve their exercise program, cut down on food consumption, begin having family devotions on a daily basis with their children, eat at home more, include fruits and veggies in their menu, and work together more closely on home routines and accomplishing their goals. It was a life-changing weekend. After three months they re-evaluated their goals and found that they had achieved their high level of communication and interaction with each other. Then together they renegotiated their goals for another three months.


Remember, ifyoudon’t plan, someone else will plan foryou.


  1. Eattogether as a family.


  1. PowerPoint©Slide 19

Eattogether as a family


When families eat at least the dinner meal together, the teen will be significantly less likely to participate in risky behaviors.




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Teens eating with family will beless likely to:

  • Have sex at an early age
  • Be suspended from school
  • Commit suicide




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Teens eating with family will be more likely to:

  • Get better grades at school
  • Be better emotionally adjusted
  • Have positive friends
  • Have better nutrition



According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse

  1.  when families eat at least the dinner meal together, the teen will be significantly less likely to participate in risky behaviors. They will be less likely to have sex at an early age, be suspended from school, or to commit suicide. They will be more likely to get better grades at school, be better adjusted emotionally, have positive friends, and have better nutrition. Mealtime is one of the most important times during the day to connect as a family.


"Family meals are the strongest factor that we've come across in any activity that families do," said William Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota. "It really tops them all as a predictor and contributor of a wide range of positive behavior."


“Compared to teens who ate with their families five to seven times a week, teenagers who had fewer than three family dinners a week were almost four times more likely to try tobacco, more than twice as likely to use alcohol and 2.5 times more likely to use marijuana, according to new information released by Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.”[8]


Making the family dinner hour a priority isn’t easy, but the long-term benefits are worth the effort. A few rules will help you get the most from your time together.

  1. Every family member sits down at the table (even Mom!).
  2. No TV.
  3. No phone calls or texting.
  4. Involve your children in dinner conversation.
  5. Avoid making a big deal over fooddislikes.
  6. Laugh a lottogether.


 8.Communicate needs.

      A young mother of two small children was depressed and discouraged. She was tired because her toddler was a very poor sleeper. In addition, her busy husband was remodeling their home. She didn’t know how to relieve her stress. Everyone was too busy to help her, and her needs were not being met. A close friend suggested that she write a letter to her husband, mother-in-law, and parents, letting them know how she felt. She needed some time to herself—some quiet time. As a result, they all responded to her concern and made the necessary adjustments to help her during her stressful time. Being specific helps others to better understand our limitations.


  1. Enjoy family devotional time.


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Enjoyfamily devotional time




      In many homes, family devotions or family worship time is a daily commitment. Some set aside about ten minutes morning and evening or at least once a day as their regular communication time with each other and God. These families read the Bible or a devotional story and commune with God in prayer. This worship time includes teaching values and Bible knowledge, and kindling hope.


      A family lived in Denmark above a supermarket. It was their custom to have a family prayer time every morning before they went to work or school and in the evening before bedtime. One morning the father rushed down the stairs to the parking lot, forgetting the family prayer time. But the four-year-old had not forgotten. He rushed to the top of the stairs overlooking the parking lot and loudly shouted, “Daddy, come back! We haven’t had family worship!” Everybody hearing that child realized that somebody appreciated the family worship.


      David and Sue, busy parents of two preschoolers, set aside Thursday night as “Family Fun Night.” Their commitment to this evening communicated to the children that they too were important. All family members took turns planning activities and events for their Family Fun Night. One evening was especially filled with creative energy and laughter. After the fun time was over and their devotional time began, one of the children prayed, “Thank You, Jesus, for all the fun time we had tonight. I hope You had fun too.” Then he looked up at Mom and said, “Was it all right to say that to Jesus?” She responded with a smile, “Yes, I’m sure Jesus enjoyed it also.” Someone once said, “If a family plays together they are more likely to pray together. If a family prays together they are more likely to stay together.”


  1. Love includes boldness.


In the evil world in which we live, temptations and alternative lifestyles abound, and sometimes we face problems that seem bigger than we are and require boldness. This is especially true when we or others are in danger, or when someone is trying to take advantage of us or another morally. There are times when we need to speak words of rebuke or admonition firmly, but kindly. Some hands-on parents encourage their teens to prepare in advance specific well-chosen words to say with love, boldness, and tact, such as:

“No, I don’t want to have sex with you. I choose to be a virgin.”

“No, I don’t want any drugs. I don’t want to mess up my mind.”



The highest level of communication is communicating with God and tuning in to God’s communication with us. If we don’t hear His voice, it may be that we are too busy working, earning money, having a good time, studying, or whatever. On MountHoreb, Elijah the prophet experienced an earthquake, a fire, and a wind so strong that it shattered the rocks. But God wasn’t in these dramatic manifestations of nature. Then he heard a “still small voice” and God spoke to him. Are we tuned in to hear that still small voice?


Prayer is the way we talk to God. It is the breath of the soul. We can pray out loud, in the mind, by writing a letter to God, by journaling or typing on a computer. It can be done kneeling, standing up, walking, sitting, or even while working or taking an examination. Prayer can help with many of life’s stresses and give us hope.


Research has shown that when someone prays for those who are gravely ill, they are more tranquil and even die with greater peace. But just as important, we live with greater peace when we communicate with God about our concerns. If you have a problem, send the message to God and remember, “Prayer goes up and power comes down.”


Lynn finds that when waking up in the morning, still in bed, her thoughts go to God in a unique way, mingling prayer with plans. During this time she is often impressed to do certain activities that end up being exactly the right ones. Lynn concludes that this is giving God “prime time” before she gets involved in the rush of the day’s activities. Now she often prays like Samuel in the Bible, “Speak, Lord, your servant hears.”


Pray for others. Record names on a prayer list of family, friends, and others who have special needs and pray for them. God will respond when we ask and believe that our prayers will be answered in His time and way. That is faith. The names on our prayer list are reminders for us to present them to the heavenly Father in the Throne Room of the Universe. When we pray for others, God’s blessings will be placed upon them. Unbelievable, supernatural miracles start taking place.


God also speaks to us through His Word. Prior to your reading the Bible, ask Him to direct your communication time with Him. Set aside ten to sixty minutes in the morning for your personal devotions with the God of the Universe—the Monarch of Heaven who is in His majestic sanctuary. You will never be the same again. This heavenly supernatural Power will never leave you or forsake you.


God is the Great Communicator. He is trying to send messages through His Word, the Bible, to us individually as we communicate with Him in prayer. The Bible tells us that our lives are letters, known and read by men and women everywhere. The apostle Paul said, “Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ Himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives.”[9]


A truestoryofsomeone who communicated by her life



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A True Story from South Africa

--Mayer, J. (2005), Approval Addiction


A frail black woman about seventy years old slowly rises to her feet. Across the courtroom facing her are several white police officers. One of them, Mr. Van derBroek, has just been convicted of killing her son and her husband. Van derBroek had come to the woman’s home, taken her son, shot him at point blank range, and then set the young man’s body on fire to burn while he and other officers partied nearby.


Several years later, Van derBroek and his men had returned for her husband as well. For months she did not know where her husband was. Then almost two years after her husband’s disappearance, Van derBroek came back to get the woman herself. How well she remembers in vivid detail that evening, going to a place beside a river where she was shown her husband, bound and beaten, but still strong in spirit, lying on a pile of wood. The last words she heard from his lips as the officers poured gasoline over his body and set him aflame were, “Father, forgive them . . .”


Now the woman stands in the courtroom and listens to the confessions offered by Van derBroek. A member of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission turns to her and asks, “So what do you want? How should justice be done to this man who has so brutally destroyed your family?” “I want three things,” the old woman communicated clearly and confidently. “First, I want to be taken to the place where my husband’s body was burned so I can gather up the dust and give his remains a decent burial.”


She paused and then continued. “My husband and son were my only family. I want, therefore, for Mr. Van derBroek to become my son. I would like for him to come twice a month to spend a day with me so I can pour out on him whatever love I still have remaining in me.”


The third request “is also the wish of my husband. And so, I would kindly ask someone to come to my side and lead me across the courtroom so I can take Mr. Van derBroek in my arms and embrace him and let him know he is truly forgiven.” As the court assistants came to lead the elderly woman across the room, Van derBroek, overwhelmed by what he had just heard, fainted. As he did, those in the courtroom, family, friends, neighbors—all victims of decades of oppression and injustice—began to sing, softly but assuredly, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”[10]


In this chapter we learned about five levels of communication and that the highest possible level of open communication is our communication with God. It is the ultimate, sixth level. We have seen that God is trying to communicate with men and women everywhere by means of the Bible. But some people just don’t get the message. They may not read it in a book. But there is one message that they cannot deny or controvert. Just as the very life of this frail African woman communicated love to the murderer of her husband and son, do you want God to help you communicate love?



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Do you want to say, “God, help me to communicate to others with the same love which You have communicated to me?”






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Lord, Thank You that You have reached out to communicate with me and that I have the opportunity of communicating with You by prayer.




PowerPoint©Slide 26

Teach me how to better communicate in a loving, positive way to others. Speak to me through Your Lord, and guide me every day. And, Lord, help me to listen to Your still small voice. Amen.






PowerPoint©Slide 27 Reflect/Discuss


  1. In which ways are your communication skills improving or getting worse?
  2. How does your communication affect your emotional and physical health?





PowerPoint©Slide 28Reflect/Discuss

3. Which subjects are the most difficult for you to communicate?

4. Share a time when you communicated with God and something special happened immediately or soon thereafter.




PowerPoint©Slide 29Reflect/Discuss

5. Sharewiththe Group anincidentwhenitwas a Challengetoeffectively comunícate withsomeone, butyouhad a successfulexperience.  State ifyouhadcommunicatedwithGodabouttheincident.






PowerPoint©Slide 30Reflect/Discuss

How can I communicate to others with the same love that God has communicated to me?

  1. How do good and bad communications affect my emotional and physical health?
  2. What changes are necessary for improving my communication relations with others?



PowerPoint©Slide 31 Reflect/Discuss

3. Who needs me to listen to them?

4. Is there a need to communicate to my children/teens about electronic media imbalance in their lives?  How can I carefully craft my words of concern?




PowerPoint©Slide 32  Intentionality

Communication and closeness take time.  I plant to have a special relational time with my spouse, family or friends.  Planned event it: ____________________________________________





PowerPoint©Slide 33Personal Reflections

How can I communicate to others with the same love that God has communicated to me?

  1. How do good and bad communications affect my emotional and physical health?
  2. What changes are necessary for improving my communication relations with others?




PowerPoint©Slide 34


r   I am intentional in having two-way communication with God by reading the Bible and praying each morning and evening.






PowerPoint©Slide 35


Communication and closeness take time. I plan to have a special relational time with my spouse, family, or friends.

      Planned event is:__________________________ Date____________.





Some Extras onCommunication

When the children are still at home, many parents desire the whole family’s input on home activities, routines, appointments, scheduling, planning, and goal setting. This can be done at a scheduled Family Meeting time. A Family Meeting teaches children to treat others with respect and consideration. If you wish to launch a Family Meeting in your household, discuss it with all family members.


What are the ingredients of successful Family Meetings?

  1. First, choose the best time of week that fits the schedule of all family members. They may have trouble adjusting to the schedule, but don’t give up.
  2. Rotate leadership. Mom or Dad might be tempted to act as chairperson. But the softer the role you play, the more there will be from the children and the greater the rewards in the end.
  3. Outline chores and responsibilities and schedule appointments. Have a family calendar and record family schedules and important appointments. Encourage your children to join in brainstorming on family routines, home duties, and decisions made within the family. This makes them feel they too can contribute positive ideas to the family and are part of the decision-making process. When everyone has contributed their suggestions, evaluate all ideas and choose the best one or a combination of ideas. If the family was unable to come to a conclusion, you might say, “It may be necessary to delay the decision and have more time to think and pray about this. Let’s try to make a decision by next week.” One ground rule will keep the Family Meeting safe and positive: no negative or critical comments are allowed about people or ideas given.


Families who take the time for a regular Family Meeting, compared with those that don’t tend to, have a more co-operative family, a family where everyone treats others with respect and consideration. The Family Meeting fosters the growth of self-worth and cooperation in the family.


Communicating with teens

Many teens go through a silent period of life when they close up and do not want to talk much with their parents. During this time, talk less and listen more. Let them know you are there to help with their concerns. Two times that teens seem more likely to talk are at bedtime and when a parent is chauffeuring them to some activity—especially when it is to a place they want to go.


From the time they become teens, youth often push buttons and boundaries right and left, leaving confused parents in their wake. Boundaries are established limits, limits not to be crossed. If a teen crosses a boundary, there must be consequences. A few boundaries need to be placed on music, cell phone use, driving, video games, computers, the Internet, dating and sexual behavior, bizarre clothing or appearance, as well as body piercing and tattoos. It is not easy these days for parents to communicate their values and morals in the midst of so much evil in the world, so pray a lot and talk a lot about eternal values.


When parents’ divorce there is usually a communication breakdown between the teens or children’s parents which oftentimes affect their communication with their children. Multiple health and emotional outcomes may arise. 


It is easy to criticize or command a misbehaving teenager who needs guidance, but it is much more difficult to make sure the message gets through. A few broad guidelines to help you communicate positively with your teens are:

  1. State your request simply and directly. State your request in a business-like tone, not as a question. “It is time for you to stop playing video games and get at your homework now.”
  2. Request only one thing at a time. It has been estimated that teens tune parents out after the tenth word. Giving the teen a whole string of things to do makes it more difficult for the yet underdeveloped teen brain to grasp it all.
  3. Tell your teenager what to do rather than what not to do. Telling a teen who may already be on the verge of disobedience or defiance what not to do is like begging him to defy you just to prove that he can. “Remember to put your backpack on the bench provided for it.”
  4. Get your teen’s attention before making a request. If he is still listening to music on his headset, it will be more difficult for him to pay attention to what you are saying. Above all, don’t holler at him from another room.
  5. Don’t neglect, however, speaking up boldly about family values and morals you cherish at the right time in the right manner:


“Neither Dad nor I ever used drugs. Drugs mess up the brain. I’m hoping you will make that choice too.”


“Mary, I’m sorry about the choice that you made to sleep with your boyfriend. It is a poor moral choice that the Bible calls a sin. I love you too much to not help you to avoid making the same mistake again. There are going to be serious consequences to this choice.”


“I’m concerned over the music you are listening to. I would like to discuss the possible impact it can have on your life. When would be a good time for us to discuss this?




PowerPoint©Slide 36

“Communication in the Family Circle”

The End




[1]. W. Davis Folsom, “Deciphering Business Jargon,” B & E Review 52, no. 3.

[2] N. L. Van Pelt, How to Talk So Your Mate Will Listen and Listen So Your Mate Will Talk (Tarrytown, N.Y.: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1989), p. 19.

[3] Children whose parents divorced before their twenty-first birthrate had their lifespan shortened by an average of four years according to one study.  (Joseph E. Schwartz et al., “Sociodemographic and Psychosocial Factors in Childhood as Predictors of Adult Mortality,” American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 85 (1995), pp. 1237-1245). Another study found these mortality rates increase especially when the divorce occurs before the fourth birthday of the child. (Gopal K. Singh and Stella M. Yu, “U.S. Childhood Mortality, 1950 through 1993: Trends and Socioeconomic Differentials,” American Journal of Public Health, Vol.86 (1996), pp. 505-512).

Health effects during childhood include a doubling of the risk of asthma, and a significant increase in injury rates.  (Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, House of Representatives, Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, To Have and To Hold, (Canberra, Australia, Parliament of Australia:1998) p. 35). Swedish researchers have found that even in early adulthood, after controlling for family and social background, differences in health risk and rates of hospitalization are still apparent.  They also found the same increased mortality rates mentioned above. (Family in America Digital Archive, (Rockford IL: The Rockford Institute, 1996) p. 854. (Reporting on Anders Romelsjö et al., 1992).


[4]. “Internet Dominates Young Adult Media Time,” Marketing Charts,

[6] . Ibid.

[8] Enjoli Francis, Sept. 22, 2011, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.

[9]. 2 Corinthians 3:2, The Message.

[10]. Adapted from Joyce Meyer, Approval Addiction: Overcoming the Need to Please Everyone (New York: Warner Faith, 2005), chapter 7 “Pressing Past the Pain of Feelings.”


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